Accelerate GDT intends to bring together a consortium of 7 European partners to accelerate the twin green and digital transitions by aligning supports into regional and national cluster policies, which will in turn raise SME competitiveness, build regional resilience, increase shared value and boost recovery across Europe.
Clusters are a central feature in the European Commissions’ competitiveness and Smart Specialisation strategies (DG Research, 2019). The European Expert Group on clusters found that clusters have a pivotal role in accelerating the twin green and digital transition (GDT), building resilience, and boosting recovery. During the Covid-19 pandemic, clusters demonstrated the capacity to drive change and make European value chains more resilient. Clusters can reach European firms quickly, especially SMEs and improve their innovation potential, technological uptake, skills and internationalisation.
The EU Green Deal’s aim is a clean, circular, and climate neutral economy for European industry and society. Clusters can accelerate this transition towards a green economy, by identifying and supporting their members’ access to green technologies, innovation, business solutions, dedicated funding and markets, and thus facilitate the green transition. Approximately 250 green-tech clusters are registered on the European Cluster Collaboration Platform (ECCP).
Digital solutions and the data-based economy are transforming industry and society, and the COVID-19 crisis has further accelerated this need. The EC (2021, p.14) suggests that the “digital transition requires the uptake of solutions by virtually all businesses. The transformation generates new competitive fields as it brings in new opportunities and new ways to create value.” Laggers who do not develop digital components in their business model are certain to fall behind in competitiveness and growth. Approximately 400 European ICT clusters are registered on the ECCP.